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Saudi Arabia, Syria welcome resumption of consular services

Saudi Arabia and Syria on Thursday welcomed the resumption of consular services and flights between the two countries.

“The two sides welcomed the start of procedures for resuming consular services and flights between the two countries,” said a joint statement issued at the conclusion of Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad’s visit to Saudi Arabia, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The two sides held a session of talks, discussing efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis that preserves Syria’s unity, security, stability, Arab identity, and territorial integrity while also serving the interests of its brotherly people,” the statement said.

It added that the two sides agreed that it was “crucial” to address humanitarian issues, create an environment that would allow aid to reach all areas of Syria, and establish the “prerequisites for Syrian refugees and displaced people to return to their homes.”

Mekdad arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday, marking the first visit by a Syrian foreign minister to Saudi Arabia since 2011.

Riyadh withdrew its ambassador from Damascus in 2011 and severed diplomatic ties with the Bashar al-Assad regime, following its deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

The Syrian regime, however, began to exchange official visits and contacts with several Arab countries in recent months amid reports about a possible resumption of Syria’s membership in the Cairo-based Arab League.

*Ikram Kouachi contributed to this report.

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